The FDA has recently approved oral immunotherapy tablets for sale within the US. There are now three allergy tablets approved by the FDA to treat different grasses and ragweed.
These are all fast-dissolving tablets that are placed under the tongue and contain specific pollen extracts. They are meant to be taken at least 12 weeks prior to the start of the grass or ragweed season.
The concept is the same as allergy shots; build up your tolerance to bothersome allergens through consistent exposure. In general, they are less effective than allergy shots. Allergy shots have an effectiveness of over 80%. Allergy tablets are in the range of 40-60% effective. Tablets are generally not the best option for patients who are allergic to multiple things, though may be a good option for someone allergic only to grass or ragweed.
Additional Information on the Tablets:
- Allergy tablets require a prescription, and it is required that a patient is allergy tested prior to being prescribed the tablet(s).
- The cost of the tablets will vary based on your insurance. At this time, we expect the cost to be comparable to allergy shots for most patients.
Sublingual Immunotherapy is often referred to as allergy drops. The antigens used in allergy drops are the same ones that are used in allergy shots, they are just taken orally versus having them injected into the arm. Research has shown allergy drops to be less effective than allergy shots in the treatment of allergies and drops pose some additional challenges to patients who are allergic to multiple items.
Currently, allergy drops are NOT approved by the FDA, though their usage is fairly common and completely legal. The lack of FDA approval does mean that insurance will not cover allergy drops and patients will be responsible for the full cost. Even so, for some patients, allergy drops will still make sense and we are glad to discuss the pros and cons of allergy drops so you can make an informed decision. Availability of allergy drops may vary by region and physician, please contact your local office if this is something you are interested in learning more about.
Allergy & Asthma Specialists offers a variety of treatment options for our patients, including allergy shots, tablets, and drops. We recommend you schedule an appointment with one of our allergists to find out what you’re allergic to and to review which treatment option makes the most sense for you.